7 herbs and spices with beauty benefits
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Herbs and spices have been used for centuries for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Not only do they add vibrant natural colours to our dishes, but they also come with an abundance of health benefits. But did you know that herbs and spices also have a myriad of beauty benefits? Whether it’s using them topically or internally, your skin, hair and nails will thank you. Keep reading to find out which herbs and spices can be incorporated into your beauty routine.
As well as being a key ingredient in desserts, cinnamon has antibacterial and blood glucose stabilising properties. A topical application of cinnamon can stimulate blood vessels and bring blood to the skin’s surface which plumps the skin, gives it a glow and improves fine lines. It’s also great for fighting the acne causing bacteria P. acnes.
When consumed, cinnamon supports glucose transport into the cells and increases insulin sensitivity. Balanced blood and insulin levels help create clear, glowing skin.
One teaspoon of cinnamon powder mixed with one teaspoon of honey makes for an excellent face mask. Alternatively, you can also mix a couple drops of cinnamon essential oil mixed with two tablespoons of olive oil for a face serum.
Although often overshadowed by cinnamon, nutmeg is actually one of the best spices when it comes to beauty benefits. Nutmeg contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which are particularly great for breakouts. It helps to reduce redness and swelling, and the grainy texture of nutmeg powder is a fantastic gentle exfoliator. It’s also great for mature skin, as nutmeg contains antioxidants that fight free radicals cause premature aging. The stimulating properties of this spice will boost skin cell renewal and growth, which reduces fine lines and wrinkles. Nutmeg oil also works magic when it comes to hair health. It helps to promote hair growth, keeps it shiny, and stimulates blood circulation to reduce flaky skin.
For an acne mask, mix together one teaspoon of nutmeg, two tablespoons of honey and one tablespoon of milk. For healthy hair, add one or two drops of nutmeg oil to your conditioner and rinse as normal.
If you have sensitive skin, fennel is extremely effective in reducing redness and irritation. It can also help to minimise the sun damage. Fennel is also a natural antiseptic, and is great for oily and acne prone skin types as it helps to remove dirt and bacteria which cause breakouts. The vitamin A, C and E content fights wrinkles and removes dark spots and pigmentation.
The best way to use fennel is to soak one teaspoon of fennel seeds in a cup of water and use it as a face spritzer. Alternatively, mix one tablespoon of fennel seeds with two tablespoons of oats and a dash of water for an exfoliating mask.
Chamomile is a popular ingredient in skincare products as it is anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiseptic, and contains essential oils and antioxidants. It’s effective in soothing the skin, reducing redness and blemish, reducing the appearance of fine lines and scars, and relieving skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and dermatitis. Chamomile’s antioxidant content helps to fade dark spots and under-eye circles.
The most effective way to use chamomile is to buy chamomile tea, steep in boiling water, and enjoy. You can also use chamomile tea bags topically around the eye area.
Cumin isn’t just tasty in curries – it also packs a ton of health and beauty benefits and is commonly used in treatments in India and Asia. Cumin contains high levels of inflammation-fighting antioxidants that help to repair skin damage and keep it looking young. This spice is also naturally antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory, which helps soothe skin and keep it free from blemishes. Cumin also contains essential oils which help to tone the skin and improve circulation, giving it that natural glow. It also happens to be very good for your hair, and helps treat hair loss and dandruff.
There are several ways you can incorporate cumin into your beauty regimen. Mix a few drops of cumin seed oil and apple cider vinegar in equal amounts and use it as a skin toner. Another way to use the spice is to soak a handful of cumin seeds in water overnight before making a paste and applying it to your face. For hair benefits, mix equal parts of black cumin oil with olive oil to use as a serum.
One of nature’s most powerful spices, turmeric packs a punch when it comes to health benefits. It has natural antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which are especially good for blemish prone skin. When consumed, turmeric helps to fight oxidative stress and improve the skin’s appearance, increase wound healing and slow down the ageing process.
Getting turmeric in your diet is easy. Add it to curries, roasted veg, soups and stews. You can also add turmeric to coffee, teas and smoothies. When applying turmeric topically, mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric, 2 tablespoons of flour, 3 tablespoons of milk and a few drops of honey for a glowing face mask.
For centuries, ginger has been used to heal all kinds of ailments. So it’s no wonder that this spice is packed with beauty benefits as well. Ginger has toning and antioxidant properties which help to reduce the appearance of scars and pigmentation. The antioxidants also have anti-aging benefits which prevent damage from free radicals, even out skin tone and improve elasticity. But it’s not just your skin that ginger loves. Ginger is known to increase blood circulation, including to your scalp. This is important for stimulating hair growth and the amount of vitamins, minerals and fatty acids in ginger helps to strengthen hair and prevent hair loss. The antibacterial properties also help to combat dandruff.
Ginger is easy to incorporate in your diet, and works in a whole range of dishes. You can also drink ginger tea to make the most of its nutrients. To make a glowing face mask, mix together equal parts of grated or powdered ginger, honey and fresh lemon juice. For a nourishing hair mask, mix equal parts of grated ginger and jojoba oil. Massage on your scalp and leave on for 30 minutes.